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We’re touchy-feely on a global level. Several large scale “happiness” indexes have emerged in recent years from the United Nations and other sources, measuring the quality of life and national well-being, among many things. Cute, but not necessarily productive. A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute challenges the idea of using feel-good happiness indices that aggregate emotional fare for political purposes.
“The idea is that if governments attach significant value to this happiness research and data, they could formulate policies that would attempt to maximize aggregate happiness,” say authors Blake Taylor and Iain Murray. “The first step toward this central planning approach to happiness would be to supplement or replace traditional economic performance measures, such as gross domestic product with one that focuses on subjective well-being.”
Should America worry? Uh, yeah. The authors note some states also have started down this path by putting forward a “Genuine Progress Indicator” that attempts to gauge the citizen success. See the eight-page analysis here: Cei.org; check under the “studies” heading.